Cohesion policy: helping poorer regions to kickstart employment and growth

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The FINANCIAL — The EU’s cohesion strategy helps poorer regions catch up with richer ones by stimulating growth and employment. When European governments started to cut back spending due to the crisis, the EU’s cohesion funding helped to support critical investment, according to the European Commission’s sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion.

The Parliament’s regional development voted on its position on 4 May. Check out our chart to learn how the funding helped to make a difference.

More than one-third of the EU budget is invested every year in projects that aim to reduce regional socioeconomic disparities  by boosting growth and competitiveness and creating jobs, especially in less economically developed regions.

In 2007-2013, the EU’s cohesion funding amounted to an average of €50 billion per year. By 2013, it represented 20% of public investment in the EU. The money is spent through three funds: the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Social Fund. For the period 2014-2020 €350 billion has been allocated for cohesion policy. The priorities are research and innovation, the EU’s digital agenda, support for small and medium-sized companies and green technology.

The Parliament’s report adopted on 5 May by the regional development committee stresses the importance of coordinating all EU investments policies and raises concerns about the backlog in payments, amounting to €25 billion for the 2007-2013 period.

Report author Tamás Deutsch, a Hungarian member of the EPP group, commented: “In order to re-launch growth and boost employment, it is imperative to put an end to the recurrent liquidity-related problems of cohesion policy.” He added that  the cohesion policy and the European Fund for Strategic Investments needed to be complementary and mutually reinforcing.

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